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We reviewed the functional results and quality of life (QOL) of patients who had had an ileoanal pouch (IPAA) for at least 15 years.Retrospective analysis was undertaken of data accrued prospectively into a pouch database since 1983. Patients who had retained an IPAA for at least 15 years were identified. Trends in IPAA function and QOL of the patients were determined over a time-period of 15 years after formation of the IPAA. Data were compared for patients who were < 35, 35–55 and > 55 years of age when the IPAA was formed.Three hundred and ninety-six of a total of 3276 patients in the database (53% men, median age 36 years and median follow-up 17.1 years) underwent IPAA with at least 15 years of follow-up. The final pathology was ulcerative colitis in 78%; 66.4% of patients had a restorative proctocolectomy, 91.4% underwent temporary diversion, 59% had a J-pouch configuration and 63.1% a stapled anastomosis. The frequency of bowel movements remained the same over the follow-up period. There was an increase in the incidence of incontinence and urgency after 15 years with no significant change in dietary, social, work and sexual restrictions during follow-up. Patients in all three age groups experienced deterioration in pouch function at 15 years of follow up compared with the function at 5 years. The QOL of the patients remained high and stable.There is a deterioration of pouch function after 15 years, irrespective of the age of the patient when the IPAA was formed. Despite this, QOL appears to be high for all patients who retain their pouch.